A cousin of murder victim Valerie Reyes spoke about her cousin before the funeral in New Rochelle Wednesday.
Seth Harrison/Lohud, The Journal News/Lohud
Javier Da Silva overstayed his visit, ICE said.
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – A man accused in the death a New York woman who was stuffed into a suitcase and dumped in Connecticut was in the United States illegally, officials say.
Javier Da Silva of Queens was arrested Monday and charged in the death of Valerie Reyes, federal prosecutors said. The 24-year-old Da Silva is a citizen of Portugal, though, who was in the U.S. illegally, Immigration and Customs Enforcement said Wednesday.
Da Silva entered the United States on May 8, 2017, through the Visa Waiver Program, but he failed to leave the country as he was required to by Aug. 5, 2017, ICE said
The Visa Waiver Program allows people to travel to the United States for tourism or business for 90 days or less without obtaining a visa, according to the Department of State’s website.
Da Silva appeared in White Plains federal court on Tuesday to face a charge of kidnapping resulting in death.
Once the criminal case is over, ICE will take custody of Da Silva and seek immediate removal from the country. The criminal case isn’t over until after he serves any potential sentence, if he’s found guilty.
Da Silva told New Rochelle police that he was with Reyes, a 24-year-old New Rochelle resident and ex-girlfriend, at her home on Jan. 29 when she fell and hit her head on the floor, after which he taped her mouth, tied up her feet and hands, and stuffed her into a suitcase that he left in the woods in Greenwich, Connecticut, according a complaint filed in White Plains federal court.
There were obvious signs of head trauma, including bruising around Reyes’ face and a large hematoma on her forehead, according to the complaint. Evidence that helped identify Da Silva included a drawing that appeared to be Da Silva that was found in Reyes’ home, and the use of her bank card around 5 a.m. on Jan. 29, according to the complaint.
Reyes was reported missing on Jan. 30 and found by a Greenwich highway crew on Feb. 5.
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